Tag archive for "Syria"

Enjoy Aunt Linda’s Beautiful Shavuot Lunch Table!

at home, holiday table settings, shavuot recipes and ideas, shavuot table settings

Enjoy Aunt Linda’s Beautiful Shavuot Lunch Table!

1 Comment 16 April 2015

Thank you cousin Robin Antar for sending in Aunt Linda’s traditional Shavuot table. Aunt Linda and Uncle Leon are known for their warmth, grace and great style. Their Shavuot table is a perfect reflection of their wonderful hobby of collecting unique and beautiful dishes and glassware, so that they can continually gather their family around their inviting table.

This Shavuot table gave me a great excuse to call Aunt Linda. Always happy to answer my questions, whether it be about her parent’s history coming from Syria, or to tell me about her elegant Shavuot table, its always fun, and a pleasure to speak to her.

The crystal goblets are from aunt Linda’s antique collection of Heisey crystal, the lace tablecloth is a purchase from a vacation to St. Thomas, the silver flatware is Christofle, and her dishes were a post wedding purchase from an English china company.

On the menu was, Koosa B’jiben (squash quiche mixed with cheese and eggs), an assorted cheese platter arranged by her grandaughter Marjorie, avocado salad with lemon and cumin, sliced tomato, basil and cheese platter, and much, much more!

By the way, Aunt Linda and Uncle Leon are very proud of their daughter Robin Antar, who is a famous sculptor, and who has a 6,000 pound sculpture of a bag of potato chips that is sitting in her garage at the time of this posting… Robin’ pieces are in some of the most prestigious corporate headquarters in the world.  Doc Martin’s, Chateau Haut Brion Wines, Sketcher’s Boots and more. Check out Robin’s video HERE.

Robin’s work is also includes a beautiful collection of Torah cases and Judaica that are featured in OUR ART, a 400 page coffee table book collection of 300 artists of the Sephardic Community.

I also want to say that I really admire Aunt Linda and Uncle Leon for supporting their daughter’s artistic passion!!!

Enjoy! Marlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Thanksgivukkah” Table and Decor-Syrian Style!

chanuka table settings, hanukka recipes and tablesettings, holiday table settings, thanksgiving table settings

“Thanksgivukkah” Table and Decor-Syrian Style!

4 Comments 19 June 2013

 

Thanksgivukkah, Tahanksgiing, Hanukka Table Decor, 1

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Dear Hostesses,

In case you haven’t heard, the new code word for the next huge family get together is “Thanksgivukkah”. This year, in a rare alignment of calendars, Hanukka and Thanksgiving fall on November 28, 2013. Astronomers say that we won’t see this occurrence again till the year 79,811 so  I decided  to make a big deal out of this menorah/pumpkin  shidduch (or buzzrah  as they say in Arabic) by re-creating  a Syrian Jewish Hanukka table with a twist  of Thanksgiving thrown in.  Some may say that this American/Jewish holiday connection is pure coincidence, but I’m thinking that there is a greater cosmic connection that’s just waiting to be blogged about.

As Jews in America,  we are very grateful to be able to celebrate our holidays publicly without fear of being persecuted. Just the fact that we can honor the mitzvah of lighting the menorah at the front window to shout out the 8 day miracle of Hanukka is reason enough to bring out our finest china and table decor to honor our peaceful place in Jewish history. For that reason alone, we should all proudly acknowledge and celebrate Thanksgiving.   As a Sephardic Jew living in America I now understand that we are a minority of Jews residing within a minority of the larger Ashkenazi Jewish population. When our community first arrived on these shores in the 1900’s, they were quickly swept up in the wave of fellow immigrants that had also fled for a better life in the U.S.A.. Fast forward one hundred years,  the Syrian Jewish culture readily absorbed many delicious flavors from their surrounding American and Ashkenazi Jewish neighbors while still retaining the pride of their homeland. It’s no wonder I received this email from Rina Kassab who wrote,

“Hi Marlene, in Syria we had no idea what Sufganiyot is! We made Atayef with Ricotta (lebeh) and Walnuts (joz). My Atayef are ready to freeze fresh for Hanukka!
Hope u like!”

I then decided to skip the Sufganiyot and  create a Syrian style Hanukka table sweetened with a tray of sweet chopped nut filled Atayef and drizzled with shirah- a thick rose water syrup freshly made by Rina. Rina told me that on Hanukka in Syria, the Jewish women prepared 8 small glass cups that were filled with half water/half oil and then inserted a handmade wick within each one. (Whaaaat? No Jonathan Adler Menorot?)

And guess what? In Syrian, NO GIFTS were given on HANUKKA!  Gift giving was reserved for Purim!  I wonder if the Ashkenaz Jews had the tradition of eight surprise filled nights way back in the old country. Comment below if anyone you know has the answer! (Hmmm…. why do I suspect that gift giving during December in our great U.S of A evolved into a fabricated American marketing spending scheme…)

I also added in an extra candle that is lit every year by Syrian Jews whose ancestors fled Spain during the expulsion by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. Expelled on Tisha B’Av over 500 years ago, several Jewish families wandered for months until they stumbled upon the Syrian community of Aleppo, Syria some months later on  Hanukka eve. So grateful were this group of exiles to finally find a homeland that they lit an extra candle to commemorate this miracle. To this day many Syrian Jewish families still light an extra candle on Hanukka, some knowing the story of their wandering ancestors, and some just  following this custom by tradition without really understanding why the extra candle is illuminated.

Enjoy my “Thanksgivukkah” table! Flowers and pumpkin menorah designed by Marzan Flowers.

Photos by the talented Morris Gindi of morrisgindiphotography. Call Morris for weddings and special events! Product and architectural shoots. Check out his website HERE and Instagram feed HERE.

Thanksgivukkah 19{‘

Modern Silver Hanukka Menorah by Parci Parla in Brooklyn. Call Sherri at ((347) 587-5179 for pricing.

Orange roses  by Marzan Flowers (917)406-6259.

Thanksgivukkah, menorah,  Sephardic,Hanukkah 20

Note the extra candle lit! (Want to know why? Read it above)

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Dreidels filled with a scooped out and silver sprayed pumpkin by Marzan Flowers. Silver tray by Christofle.

Personalized napkins by ipersonalize.(Call or text Joy  718-490-7063 for more options)

 

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Custom Hanukka Straws by personalize. Call or text Joy (718)490-7063 for all of your tabletop personalizationClick here for more personalization ideas!

Blue trimmed linen napkin and blue and white Ikat tablecloth by Tabletoppers- Call or text Michelle at (646)258-0929

Custom Hanukka Place cards  with exotic blue feathers by Karens Invitations. Call Karen at (718) 339-1929

Thanksgiving Rooster Cupcake Topper by Kitchen Caboodles. Call Helen at (917)691-4599

 

Thanksgivukkah, Sephardic Hanukkah, Atayef, 17

Although I was really doing great on my diet, I didn’t even flinch when the photo shoot was over and I was able to eat an entire Atayef without a drop of guilt. My grandmother used to make these sweet crunchy treasures and each bite was worth every single calorie. Thanks Rina!!!

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Thanksgivukkah 3

This fantastic silver sprayed pumpkin  menorah was designed and hand crafted by Yuval and Ina Marzan of Marzan Flowers.

Call them for your festive events, holiday tables and hostess gift arrangements at (917)406-6259.

Love this IKAT blue and white table topper by Tabletoppers- Call or text Michelle at (646)258-0929

Thanksgivukkah 4 Thanksgivukkah 5    Thanksgivukkah 8

 

 

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Delicious Hanukka cake  with Pumkins on top(!!!) designed by Rachel Benun of Flour Power. Call Rachel for your next special event! (917)881-2428

Lucite cake knife by Parci Parla (347)587-5179

 

Thanksgivukkah 12 Thanksgivukkah 14

Gorgeous multi layered wrapped gift cake by callmecookie1! Call Latifah at (347)536-9361

Wine Decanter by Pampaloni

Thanksgivukkah 16

Cake detail by  by callmecookie1! Call Latifah at (347)536-9361

Thanksgivukkah, Hanukka Cake, 15

Hope u enjoyed! XoXo

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Eggplant Rollups with Hashu (Meat) and Rice Filling

hanukka recipes and tablesettings, kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher thanksgiving recipes, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, rosh hashanah and sukkot recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas

Eggplant Rollups with Hashu (Meat) and Rice Filling

2 Comments 05 May 2013

Eggplant-Rollups-The-Jewish-Hostess-550x366

hashu meat, syrian style,

hashu, veal stuffing,meat stuffing, stuffing for vegetables,

Way back in the days when my grandparents resided in Syria, there was no such thing as  a huge slab of meat for the entire family,  so the women had to stretch a pound of meat by grinding and mixing it with short grain rice (faster cooking time), salt, allspice, and cinnamon.  They would stuff this “hashu” filling into the  vegetables that were bought in the local souk in the city. Of course the vegetables were laboriously  scooped upon arrival home. Fruits, vegetables and poultry from the Aleppo region were know to be organic and  extra tasty, and the former residents will passionately attest to it. I will never forget the pride of one of the women that we interviewed for the Sephardic Heritage Museum project when she said, “You haven’t even tasted a CHERRY until you’ve tasted one from Aleppo!” Fortunately, our grandparents brought the memories of the flavors of their native land, and adapted them to our American menu. I’m not actually sure if they made eggplant rollups back in Syria, but I’m sure that they stuffed their  baby eggplants with “hashu”. For a more detailed post on how to make hashu click HERE.

I really enjoy making eggplant rollups for the holidays when one meal rolls into the next because you can just pull it out of the freezer to defrost in the morning and pop into the oven a couple of hours before serving.

If you do freeze in advance, then just remember to defrost and add a little water to the edges of the pyrex before cooking!

 

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Eggplant Rollups with Hashu (Meat) and Rice Filling

Eggplant Rollups with Hashu (Meat) and Rice Filling

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs chop meat
  • 1/3 cup short grain rice(per lb of chop meat)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • garlic salt
  • oregano
  • 2 uniform long eggplants/sliced into long thin slices

Instructions

    Eggplant:
  1. Brush each eggplant slice with safflower oil and place on a baking tray.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes
  3. Hashu meat filling:
  4. Mix chop meat, rice, spices and water together with cooking gloves till consistency of wet play dough.
  5. Take each long slice of eggplact and place 2-3 tablespoons of meat at the edge.
  6. Roll up each eggplant slice into a finger sized rollup and place on a pyrex one by one.
  7. Pour a can of tomato sauce over the legnth of each row of rollups.
  8. Sprinkle with garlic salt and oregano.
  9. Bake at 350 for an hour or more (cover for and hour- then uncover for about 20 minutes) till bubbly.
  10. Lefortover "hashu" can be made into torpedo shaped balls and frozen on a cookie sheet for later use.
  11. Can be thrown on top of chicken or any roast, or cholent before cooking.

Notes

May be frozen in advance. Make sure to defrost before cooking- add some water to the edges before cooking.

http://www.thejewishhostess.com/eggplant-rollups-with-hashu-meat-and-rice-filling/

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Fool, Falafel, and Tehina (Ful Medemas)- The Syrian Way!

breakfast recipes, hanukka recipes and tablesettings, kosher pareve recipes, kosher recipes, kosher salad recipes, kosher vegetable recipes, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, shabbat recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas, Sukkot Recipes

Fool, Falafel, and Tehina (Ful Medemas)- The Syrian Way!

7 Comments 06 February 2013

 

 

Falafel, Hummos, Falafel, The Jewish Hostess

 

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When Nina Mustacchi tagged me on Instagram with her Fool Medemas recipe, I was intrigued to know more about her, and the exact details involving this Allepian flavor infused side dish. (click HERE to see it on Insta- and if you are not on Instagram yet, then please do so because you are missing out on a lot of Jewish Hostess fun!)

Of course, an authentic dish always tastes so much better when you get the background the the food and the real chef behind it, so Nina happily shared her story with me for all of my Jewish Hostesses to enjoy.

Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1970, 15 year old Nina Maleh knew that Syria was not a welcoming  place for her her and the Syrian Jewish community that had lived there for 3,000 years. Travel restrictions, business limitations, jail time, and Nazi-type beatings inflicted by the Syrian government were commonplace among all innocent fellow community members. One by one, the Syrian Jewish community began to escape the country. Most of them trudged perilously by foot to Israel, Turkey, and Lebanon. Nina’s parents had decided to escape Syria the year before so that they could set up a home in Brooklyn for when Nina and her two brothers would be able to escape to Brooklyn.  In 1985, Nina and her two young brothers fled the country by walking 12 hours through mountainous roads to get to freedom in Turkey. Soon after, they finally  reunited with their parents in Brooklyn, N.Y. The day that 17 year old Nina stepped into her new Brooklyn home, she met her future husband, who coincidentally happened to be visiting her parents. Nina told me that the minute that he set eyes upon her, he proposed on the spot! (phew-what a trip!!)

Nina told me that every Shabbat lunch she now serves at least 15 salads- Halaby style. (Halab-meaning milk, is the Arabic word for Aleppo, known as the place where Abraham our forefather rested and fed  his camels on his journey). The Halaby Jews are known for the abundant variety of salads and mazza that they serve with every Shabbat meal. Here is the Halaby version of fool, hummos, and falafel, which is also made Egyptian style by Egyptian Jews and Arabs alike. Pita bread is usually used to scoop up this flavorful concoction.

There are 3 components to this dish:

2-The tehina- The Syrian style tehina is thicker and more lemony than the traditional more watery Israeli style of tehina. The tehina is the bottom layer.

2-  The fool- (fava beans)- The Halaby or Allepian version of fool is much more lemony than the Egyptian method. Here Nina recommends using canned fava beans as opposed to the more time consuming task of boiling dried fava beans. This is the second layer.

3- The falafel patties- made with dried chick peas, soaked overnight. The falafel patties top this dish.

Falafel, Fool,and Hummos- The Syrian Way!

Falafel, Fool,and Hummos- The Syrian Way!

Ingredients

    Tehine-
  • A jar of raw tahina
  • water
  • salt
  • lemon
  • garlic,
  • cumin to sprinkle on top.
  • Fava Bean or Fool Mixture:
  • 1 can of Fava beans
  • 2-3 heads of garlic, mashed
  • salt
  • lemon
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • olive oil
  • chopped tomatoes
  • parsley
  • Next:Top dish with falafel patties:
  • 1 bag of dried chick peas
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt, pepper

Instructions

    Tehina (bottom layer)
  1. Mix all ingredients together to taste. Should be thick like yogurt consistency.
  2. Fool (fava bean salad mixture- goes on top of tehina layer)
  3. Boil can of Fava beans for 10 minutes only.
  4. Mix with 2- 3 mashed fresh garlic,
  5. salt,
  6. lemon
  7. cumin,
  8. paprika
  9. olive oil
  10. chopped tomatoes
  11. top with chopped parsley.
  12. Add olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped parsley on top.
  13. Make the falafel patties:
  14. Soak the dried chick peas overnight.(You can't use canned chick peas)
  15. Should be soft enough to break with your nail- not soft enough to smash.
  16. Grind chick peas in Cuisinart with parsley and cilantro.
  17. Grind with 2-3 cloves of garlic with each pulse using total 1 head of garlic. Add 2 tbsp flour or a little more till you can press into firm patties.
  18. Pan fry with vegetable oil or:
  19. bake it by rolling each ball in flour, dip in olive oil, fry it lightly to keep its' shape, and then spray with Pam and bake in a cookie pan.
http://www.thejewishhostess.com/fool-falafel-and-tehina-ful-medemas-the-syrian-way/

 

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Today! Bake Your Challah With A Key Inside the Dough For A Prosperous Year !

kosher challah recipes, kosher recipes

Today! Bake Your Challah With A Key Inside the Dough For A Prosperous Year !

6 Comments 18 April 2012

 

Every year, the day after Passover, my friend Marylin would collect house keys from friends and family, wrap them in foil, and stick them into the challah that she was kneading for the coming Shabbat. As an extra bonus, she would also collect $20. from each key-owner and donate the proceeds to Sephardic Bikur Holim.

Her explanation was that it was her family custom each year to bake their house-key inside the challah for financial success and prosperity. Whenever I had the opportunity to give her my key for that day, I figured “what the heck, it can’t hurt”, and it was always a memorable experience running over to her kitchen each year to try to find my aluminum covered baked house key under the baked challahs.

Tradition holds, that our ancestors in Syria and Turkey  put wheat kernels in all four corners of the house on Motzei Pesach as a sign of prosperity for the coming year. There are mishnayot that say that there is a connection between Pesach and parnasa (financial income). It must also be an Askenazi  custom because its called “Shlissel Challah”, which means “key challah” in Yiddish. Many people actually bake their challah in the shape of a key. If you would like to read more about this interesting tradition, then please click on over to this site.

This Friday, April 30, 2012  is the day that challah should be baked with a house key tucked in for good luck and prosperity. I wish all of my Jewish Hostesses tons of good luck with this custom! Please call me when you win  LOTTO!!!!!

Shabbat Shalom! Marlene

p.s. don’t forget to separate an olive sized piece of challah dough in remembrance of the portion given to G-d  in ancient times. Please CLICK HERE to find out how.

Recipe for delicious Challah from a close relative who wishes to remain anonymous:

  • 1 5 pound bag of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cups of safflower oil
  • 4 cups of water- (2 cups boiling, mixed with 2 cups of ice cold water)
  • 6 packets of Rapid Rise Yeast plus 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Directions for Making Delicious Challah:

  1. Mix Rapid Rise yeast packets with the 4 cups of water (2 cups boiling, mixed with 2 cups of ice cold water) with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a glass bowl.  The yeast mixture should bubble.
  2. Note*-the water should be mixed to form a lukewarm temperature BEFORE adding the yeast.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a Bosch or large mixer.
  4. Add wet ingredients plus bubbled yeast mixture.
  5. Mix on a medium speed for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Put dough into a large oiled bowl and let rise in a warm area for 1 and 1/2 hours.For best results shut off air conditioning in the room that your dough is rising . Punch down.
  7. Separate into 8-10 balls of dough.
  8. Separate each ball into 3 smaller balls and roll all three balls into long pieces and braid evenly.
  9. Brush with a beaten egg and top with sesame seeds, zaatar spice, or everything spice from the bagel store. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  10. Let rise another 1 1/2 hours.
  11. Bake at 350 degress for  22-30 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned and challah looks baked.
  12. Check out these recipes for Whole Wheat ChallahGauranteed Hamotzei Challah and Honey Eucalyptus Challah.

 

Baby Jacqueline Mosseri’s Detailed Pink and White Themed Birthday Party

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, birthday parties, Dessert Buffet Bars, kosher recipes, parties

Baby Jacqueline Mosseri’s Detailed Pink and White Themed Birthday Party

4 Comments 12 March 2012

WIn a Free Keurig or $150. cash! Click HERE to find out HOW easy it is to WIN!
Thank you to the Mosseri ladies for sharing your gorgeous “Pretty in Pink” birthday party for your very special granddaughter. You really didn’t miss a single detail, and the  happiness and effort that you put into this table really shines through! I love how the pink and white theme was played up using flowers, your chocolate dipped strawberries, and even the Syrian rosewater pudding “suttlage” was dyed pink!!  Marlene
P.S. Every day or so I will be posting more dessert bar pics so that we can pick the winner of the Amy Atlas Sweet Designs book. You still have time to email your pics to my photos@thejewishhostess.com.

“As soon as my granddaughter Jacqueline was born, I knew I wanted to see her name in flowers. Once she was old enough to laugh and smile we knew that she was ready for her party. We planned Jacqueline’s party with a girly and feminine theme in mind. Everything was pink and white, including the tablecloths, flowers and the outfits of many guests. The party was a success because so many people helped including Shirley Barnathan who designed the flowers which fit the pink motif perfectly. Also Fortune Farca designed and created the cake which matched the pink with white polka dot napkins. Jacqueline’s party was exactly how we, my daughters and I, planned it to be.” Jacqueline Mosseri
WIn a Free Keurig or $150. cash! Click HERE to find out HOW easy it is to WIN!
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A Tu Bishvat Table That Martha Stewart Would Be Proud Of!

kosher recipes, Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings, tu bishvat table settings

A Tu Bishvat Table That Martha Stewart Would Be Proud Of!

21 Comments 14 January 2012

 

Tu Bishvat table decor, The Jewish Hostess

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Let’s Bring Tu Bishvat Into The 21 Century!

The holiday of Tu Bishvat (or Tu bishevat) always summoned to mind a couple of  boring dried fruits on a paper plate given to us as ten year old kids in yeshivah. It wasn’t really very exciting, and I particularly remember almost breaking a baby tooth as we tried to bite off a bit of the dried black hard-as-a-rock carob boxer strip that was touted as a special new fruit by our teachers. Being one of the producers of The Sephardic Heritage Museum film project, I had the honor of interviewing over 300 community members, many of whom remember celebrating the exciting holiday of Tu Bishvat way back in Syria. I was astounded to  hear that the now pandemonium holiday of Purim was a mere passing around of Syrian pastries like Samboosak and Graybeh to their neighbors, but Tu Bishvat or “Id Il Jar” (pronounced Eed El Jar- the holiday of trees) was the one holiday that the children and parents alike truly looked forward to. Every year, a month before the holiday, the moms started to sew luxe velvet bags with a drawstring that would soon contain exotic fruits that the children had never seen before. We take our pineapples, watermelons, and  mangos for granted nowadays, but I doubt that there were carts in the souk in Aleppo that exhorted these wonderful sweet new treats. I was told that it would take the adults weeks to seek out and save these fruits to excite the children and keep the memories of the Tu Bishvat holiday alive.

Upon speaking to one of my Tu Bishvat bakers (below), Margalit Dweck, I was astounded to hear that she and her husband have a Tu Bishvat dessert “seder” table every year on the eve of the holiday (this year Tu Bishvat falls on Friday evening, January 25, 2013). Rabbi Joe Dweck reads from the special Tu Bishvat book (photo below), points out the new fruits to his children, and recites the berachot. He proceeds to tell some Tu Bishvat stories, and the kids show off their Tu Bishvat art creations made in school. As a special treat, Margalit whips up a pomegranate martini shared by her and her husband.

Rabbi Joseph Dweck was kind enough to relay to me some Tu Bishvat fruit for thought. He mentioned the halachic aspect of how, when a Jewish person plants a fruit tree, he is not allowed to eat from it for three years, and of course the new year to begin counting begins every year on Tu Bishvat,(so if you planted a tree a month before Tu Bishvat- by the time TuBishvat rolls around 4 weeks later, that first year is already counted).

On an even more inspirational level, Rabbi Dweck explained our human connection to the trees, and how it even began with the story of Adam and Eve. The holiday of Tu Bishvat should inspire us to see the beauty and sweet flavor  of Hashem’s proud work- the wonderful shades of red, green, and orange… plus the abundant flavor and juiciness that exudes from each one of the fruits that our trees bear. Did you ever stop to think that we are similar to the trees? We try to  grow strong, establish rock solid roots, and try to bear beautiful fruits that we are be proud of – our children, hessed, mitzvoth, and our work.

My sister in law constantly tells me that I am truly an old soul, and a gnawing ache in my heart propels me to believe that she is right. As The jewish Hostess, I have planted myself into the awesome job of treasuring the old customs while adding a splash of modern hues and excitement to our holiday ambiance.

Enjoy the jolt of awesome color, new fruits, gorgeous flowers, and Tu Bishvat cakes baked by our fabulous community bakers. Keep scrolling below for more details about each photo.

A huge thanks to Miriam and Manny Haber who graciously allowed me to use their beautiful home for the photo shoot. Miriam is the ultimate Jewish Hostess.

The Jewish Hostess

Morris Antebi, photographer extraordinaire shot these fantastic photos for The Jewish Hostess in a flash. I was impressed with his professionalism, the most up to date digital photography equipment and the sharp artistic detail that he was able to capture with his magical lens. Please check out his Facebook page HERE. His commercial work and wedding and video  portfolio is not to be believed. Thanks Morris!!

Thank you Vicki Majors for bringing over the much needed tree trunks for the cake displays!

Cherry Blossom fabric for the table runner by Marimekko for Crate and Barrel.  Run over to Crate and Barrel for some great table decorating ideas!

Tu Bishvat, The Jewish Hostess

 

Candy Tree, The jewish Hostess

Candy and chocolate tree built into the dining room  chandelier by Louis of Avenue J Florists.

Candy and Chocolate displays and Gifts by Lucy Aini and Edlo Sorcher.

Check out their CANDY and CHOCOLATE website HERE.

Candies and Chocolate, The Jewish Hostess

More kosher delicacies from CANDY and CHOCOLATE.

Fruit Display, The jewish Hostess

Here I mounded fresh new fruits and the Shiv’ah Minim – strawberries, grapes, figs, apricots, pomegranates, dates, olives (back left), and fig bread by Mikhayla Bibi. 

Fuchsia cotton berry napkin by Crate and Barrel.

Gorgeous and useful circular white resin tray above by Parci Parla.565 Kings Highway New York, NY 11223

(347) 587-5179

Dried Fruits, The Jewish Hostess

Note the Tu Bishvat  berachot prayer books (above)for new fruits at the Tu Bishvat seder.

Tu Bishvat Tree, The Jewish Hostess

An amazing “Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate Tree” by Custom Berries Plus.

All strawberries are checked and cleaned and hand dipped in pareve or milk chocolate.

Note the delicious grapes that are dipped in chocolate and nuts on the base of the tree!.

By Esty Mosseri. Check out Esty’s Instagram page HERE and her WEBSITE HERE.

Tu Bishvat Cake, The Jewish Hostess,

Luv at First Bite by  baker Marlene Cohen. The perfect Tu Bishvat cake! (above)Branches and cherry blossoms! The bottom tier of the cake is a fluffy coconut cake, frosted with a parve buttercream frosting. The second tier is a strawberry vanilla cake, also frosted with buttercream frosting.  Love at First Bite caters all kinds of  kosher parties including showers, engagement parties, bar mitzvahs and more!

Follow Marlene on Instagram. Click HERE.

The Jewish Hostess Party,

Margalit Dweck is famous for her fabulous artistry in kosher baking for any hostess event. Floral Tu BIshvat Petit Fours (above) atop a monstera leaf are just a tiny show of Margalit’s talent. Follow Margalit here on Instagram.

Pink Cupcakes, The Jewish Hostess,

Mari Gindi’s Batter Up Confections are the talk of the town. Customized kosher baked goods for your every occasion. Check out her website HERE.

Date balls, Tu Bishvat, The Jewish Hostess

Adelle Soffer’s  almond and/or coconut date balls are the perfect healthy Tu Bishvat and all year round healthy snack go-to. Each date is cleaned and checked.Follow her Instagram feed HERE.

Pink Cake, The Jewish Hostess

Sweet Cakes by Sara Azizian. Sara can be reached at 646-400-7751 and/or sweetcakesbysara@hotmail.com. Follow her on Instagram  @sweetcakesbysara’. All the decorations are made from sugar and are edible. The flowers are from the Almond Tree called Almond Blossoms. The almond is mentioned many times in the Torah. It is described as “Among the best of fruits”. The almond blossom was also supplied as a model for the Menorah which stood in the Holy Temple.

Olives, The Jewish Hostess

Lesley Chera’s cured Sicilian, Kalamata, and  Cerignola olives are  specially seasoned . Choose from  in a variety of different flavors- Spicy, Rosemary, Lemon, Jalapeño,  Zatar are just some of the flavors in Lesley’s repertoire … Some are are even seasoned w fennel and citrus peel.. Perfect for any meal and a beautifu hostess gift. Lesley’s favorites are served with wine and good friends. Follow @LesleyChera on Instagram.

Olives, Tu Bishvat, The Jewish Hostess

Jeanette’s Olive Garden (above) sells specially seasoned pitted cured olives in many flavors such as Zaatar,Lemon Zest, Jalepeno, Tapanade And Stuffed  Mozarella Olives too!
Pitted and Kid friendly too! Makes a perfect gift and for your own Shabbat table! Follow @JeanetteCohen on Instagram.

Meringue, The Jewish Hostess

“My name is Mikhayla Bibi.  I’m a graduate of Jerusalem Culinary Institute where I received my certification in both the culinary and patisserie arts. I was employed by Eucalyptus, one of Jerusalem’s most highly regarded restaurants as the bread baker. In addition I learned many biblically historical dishes which is part of the theme of this bread. Figs and Dates both among the seven species perfect for Tu B’shvat. Enjoy!”

I actually got to taste Mikhayla’s white meringue bowl filled with cream and topped with fresh grapes and pomegranate seeds. Divine! Follow Mikhayla’s Instagram page HERE

 

Macaron , The Jewish Hostess

Leila Akkad designed this Macaron Cherry Blossom Tree to fit in perfectly with our Tu Bishvat theme. Each macaron hung like an individual cherry blossom which had a gorgeous effect on the holiday table. Leila designs gorgeous macarons for your every hostess need. She actually created the macaron menorah featured HERE on The Jewish Hostess. Follow Leila HERE on Instagram for more fabulous kosher macaron creations!

Cherry Blossom Hand Stamped tag, The Jewish Hostess

Shirley Bar Nathan Flowers, The Jewish Hostess, floral display,

When Shirley bar Nathan heard that I was working on a Tu Bishvat table, she ran over with this hot pink flower arrangement that worked perfectly with my modern rustic theme. Thanks Shirley! Follow Shirley’s fantastic floral shop here on Instagram.

Check out the fabulous centerpiece that she made for my Rosh Hashanah table HERE.

Iced Fruit Pops, The Jewish Hostess

Sophia Cohen’s new Urban Pops are the talk of the town! Made with fresh fruit, and frozen to perfection, makes me just want to lick these delicious pops right off the screen!

Flavors like apricot, blueberry, watermelon, mojito, pina colada, and limonata are just some of her citrus delights. Email Sophia Cohen HERE for more info!

Fruit Tarts, The Jewish Hostess

My niece Shirley Dana is an amazing baker.  Her desserts are made in her own strictly kosher, dipped kitchen, and are baked personally from scratch to order. She works hard to create sweets that not only taste like heaven, but that can be seen as tiny works of art as well. Using only the finest ingredients, her desserts can be glamorously displayed at an event, but equally enjoyed on a cozy night at home. Check out her website HERE.

Date cake, The Jewish Hostes

“Tu bishvat encompasses a variety of delicious fruits and nuts that represent Israel, but it goes beyond that. In my eyes, the holiday also serves as a reminder for how our country was built, all the hard work that went into it (and continues to go into it), all of the men and women who joined forces to create our homeland. This kosher cake contains dried fruit and is encrusted with almonds, a clear correlation to tu bishvat. Frosted with chocolate to represent carobs, the top is decorated with date balls. They’re dusted with pink sanding sugar to tie in the gorgeous pink and brown theme. Circle-shaped and filled with so many accompanying flavors, the cake symbolizes all the different “flavors” that have worked together, not in a hierarchy but rather equally in a circle, to form our beautiful country.” By Yvonne Orfali- The Cravery. Check out Yvonne’s Instagram feed HERE.

 

Fig Bread, The Jewish Hostess

 

Mahia Fig Liquor, The Jewish Hostess

The official liquor of the Tu Bishavt Holiday! Mahia Fig Liquor!  Kosher. Distilled by the Nahmias family.

Place your  order with Amazon.

The Jewish Hostess Table Decor,

Gold Rimmed Coffee Cups by Michael Wainwright.

Rimmed Resin Circular Tray by Parci Parla.565 Kings Highway New York, NY 11223

(347) 587-5179

Close up of resin tray below.

Resin Tray, The Jewish Hostess

Chocolates, The Jewish Hostess

The bags and tags below were hand stamped with a cherry blossom stamp  by moi! When Miriam told me that as a child in Mexico they would run into the house with wide paper bags on Tu Bishvat excited for their delicious new and dried fruits from their parents,(originally from Aleppo, Syria) they played a game of, “Who sees ‘Id Il Jar?” (the holiday of trees). And when the kids said- “WE SEE HIM!!!” They would fill up their bags with candy. Inspired by her story, I decided to recreate my own rendition below…..

Dried Fruits, Tubishvat Display, The Jewish Hostess

So easy and fun to make these hand stamped cherry blossom craft bags! I also purchased the wood grained cardboard boxes above from Paper Source.

I think I almost bought the entire store out! Check out Paper Source HERE

DIY, The Jewish Hostess

 

Phew! All done….

Hope you enjoyed! Please share on Facebook. Pinterest, and and Twitter!

Would love to hear your comment below!!!

The jewish Hostess

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10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

kids, kosher drink recipes, kosher recipes, Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings

10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

2 Comments 04 January 2012

Subscribe Now: and win a chance for a free copy of  Amy Atlas’s New Book, Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It!

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As some of my Jewish Hostess readers may know, I am involved in interviewing many elders for The Sephardic Heritage Museum which has really  forced me to think about what  memories my kids will take with them as they go on with their own lives.  Many of the elders that we interviewed, recalled great anticipation for Tu B’ishvat during their childhood in Syria. They all reminisced about how their mothers would sew them a cloth bag with a drawstring, and their parents would collect  treasured “exotic” fruits such as pineapples and grapefruits, and Syrian pastries until giving it to them on the  day of Tu Bishvat. Kids would savor their treats, and share and trade with friends for weeks afterwards. Can you imagine this year, Tu Bishevat 2012, handing your kid a home-sewn velvet bag filled with kiwi, papaya and almonds????? lol-  this year, a baggie with some fruit rollups and apple sour sticks just might do the trick!

Growing up in Brooklyn, in the 70’s, my friends and I still joke about the the inedible rubbery brown carob stick that they used to dole out to students on Tu B’shevat at The Yeshivah of Flatbush. Well, I can just imagine my kids tossing that carob right into the trash can if I tried it on them today!

As my quest for a modern day Tu Bishvat continues, here’s a list of some holiday ideas to try with your kids. Use your imagination and send in your great ideas and traditions to me so that we can all share it on The Jewish Hostess:

1- Watch the video above to appreciate the beautiful flowering country of Israel. When you are done watching, You may just book a one way  ticket to Israel!

2-Rebuild trees burnt in Fires in Carmel, Israel Since Tu Bishvat  calls for the renewal of nature, what better way to teach kids how to reach out to others in time of need?

Tzedakah via internet. Perfect for kids with short attention spans!

3- Grape Juice Sangria-

Let your kids pick out which fruits they like and let them help chop and mix.

 

Grape Juice Sangria

  • 1 medium bottle of kosher grape juice
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (optional)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 pear cubed
  • 1 apple cubed
  • 1 orange pith removed and cubed
  • 3 cups carbonated  plain or lemon-lime beverage
  • 1 cup of red grapes cut in half

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Be creative but only use the fruits that you know your kids will like! Serve in your prettiest fruit cups.

4- Make Tu B’shvat Pomanders out of fresh oranges . Use these decorative balls as centerpieces in a bowl on your breakfast table. Creative Jewish Mom has easy projects for your creative kids.

Orange Pomander

5-Does you kid love  the combo of sticky wood and glueMake a Fruit Crate and display it on your dinner table with a bunch of grapes, some dates, and a cut up pomegrante. What a centerpiece! Click HERE for easy instructions.

6- Connect with nature right in your kitchen and plant a seed in an egg shell. Or learn how to easily plant apple,  orange, grapefruit, tangerine or lemon seeds HERE. Planting a seed teaches kids patience and responsibility in our modern day world of instant rewards.

Try planting seeds in an egg carton as another down to earth craft!

photo via Good to Grow

7- Make your own flowering dried fruit sculpture with the kids- they will feel so proud to leave it out all week on your family dining table!

Click HERE to get creative!

centerpiece

8- Have a Shiv’a Minim Tu Bishvat Family Seder .

Click HERE to find out how.

9 – Buy A Tu Bishvat classic for kids- Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat
– an educational book, and a great children’s gift for all year round!

10- Check out how I came up with this year’s Tu Bishvat centerpiece HERE.

Let’s start some new Tu Bishvat traditions in our homes this year, and maybe one day, in about 2020 or so, our grown kids will be planting a seedling in their kitchen, making grape juice sangria, sending money to plant a tree in Israel, or creating their own Tu Bishvat centerpiece with their own little ones…..

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My 10 Minute Tu Bishvat Centerpiece- Easy and Beautiful by The Jewish Hostess

DIY, Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings, tu bishvat table settings

My 10 Minute Tu Bishvat Centerpiece- Easy and Beautiful by The Jewish Hostess

5 Comments 05 December 2011

:

Subscribe Now: and win a chance for a free copy of  Amy Atlas’s New Book, Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE! 

 

 

This Shabbat,when my daughter’s friend took a double take at my colorful fruit and flower dining room centerpiece, my daughter explained, “Yeah, my mom is The Jewish  Hostess…. check out our Tu Bishvat table.”

“WOW- WHEN IS TU BISHVAT  YOUR MOTHER IS SO CUTE! HOW COOL!” Was her friend Danielle’s response.

Tu Bishvat is a celebration of the new trees and fruits of the land of Israel. It has loosely evolved into a Jewish Earth Day and celebration of nature. Its a moment to reflect upon the blessings of our natural surroundings as many of us race through our hectic city lives.

For many years on Tu Bishvat, my kids would come home with a crafty Tu Bishvat  green tree made of tissue paper, I’d buy some dried fruits pre-mixed on a plate, we would say the Shiv’ah minim berachot,  and hallelujah lets get ready for Purim.

I’ve recently discovered that Tu Bishvat was an exciting holiday for kids way back in Syria, which was my grandparents home town. Actually, Tu Bishvat was even more exciting than Purim  in which the adults celebrated the Megillah holiday by passing around the typical Syrian pastries to fellow neighbors and friends.

In Syria, weeks before Tu Bishvat arrived, the older women and mothers would gather beautiful fabrics and start sewing velvet bags with a drawstring for their excited children. Within these bags the adults would gather exotic fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, peaches, and plums  that the children would have  to savor on the holiday of Tu Bishvat. Each child would have a unique  bag that they would bring to school on Tu Bishvat and show off  and trade their tropical treasures with their friends. The kids would sleep with the bag tied to their bed post for several weeks until the seemingly magical bagful of  sweet holiday memories was empty. Many of our Syrian Jewish community members who have recently arrived from Syria have saved their hand sewn Tu Bishvat bags till today.

As our many of us barely know how to sew, and thankfully we  only need to go to the corner grocery store to pick up a pineapple, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. That doesn’t  mean that we shouldn’t find ways to make this Jewish holiday meaningful and memorable in our own way.

This year, my family agreed  to set our Shabbat table several days before Tu Bishvat arrived. As my kids are getting into my Jewish Hostess table settings, each one pitched in with ideas. This past Thursday I decided to  take  a trip into NYC with the older kids to check out the flower market on 28 Street between 6 and 7th. Walking into each store is another adventure, and I knew I couldn’t go wrong purchasing any of the beautiful florals that abound on that wonderful street.

Looking at my centerpiece, I could really tell you that I sat with dirt, a shovel and wood crates and assembled these beautiful hyacinth and grass plants all by myself, but I have to be honest with you. They were sitting right there on the sidewalk outside the store, all perfect and ready to go. My daughters and I chose 2 grass plants ($15 each) that were planted into wood crates, and 2 hyacinth plants(about $20 each). We decided that we would figure out how we would set the table later on. I bargained a little, asked the guy to re-pot some of the plants that were a little wilty looking, paid, got the car from the parking lot, pulled up, and he happily put the plants into the back seat. Check out Paradise Plants website HERE. 

On Friday morning, I was so excited to set my table, I almost forgot to cook for Shabbat. I tried several variations, but in less than 10 minutes, I placed the 2 grass boxes one in front of the other and perched a glass cake plate in the middle atop the wood edges of the crates. The whole family mounded some pretty grapes, kumquats, pears, etc.in the center. (Ouri’s Fruit  on Avenue U in Brooklyn is getting in their exotic fruits for Tu Bishvat this week, so I will make another trip over there on Monday.) I then placed the 2 gorgeous smelling hyacinth plants on either side.

As for the  hot pink flowers on my lime green napkins…… although I was contemplating buying up all of these gorgeous artificial flowers myself, I have decided to share this great find with my Jewish Hostesses. They were about $2. each, and you can find them about 3 or 4 stores to the left of Paradise Plants. (I’m sorry, I threw out their business card!)

Love these hot pink flowers!

I’m so glad that I set the table and photographed it before my husband came home because as soon as he entered the house, he started sneezing and coughing, claimed a migraine, and blamed his brand new allergy on my poor perfumed hyacinth plants. Within minutes my plants were banished to the outside freezing windowsill, so if any of you know my cellphone, then just text me and I will give you permission to snatch them from  my front porch!

My Banished Hyacinth Plants

In case you were wondering, Here is my new centerpiece sans the hyacinth plants:

Send in your Tu Bishvat centerpiece or  new fruit arrangement idea for a chance to win Paula Pryke’s Gorgeous New Book, Decorating with Flowers!
Decorating with Flowers: Classic and Contemporary Arrangements

Take your pics- an iPhone works the best! and just click here to email me!

 

This year, we will have a Tu Bishvat Seudah, make Tu Bishvat Sangria, Almond Date Truffles, Shiva Minim Wheatberry Salad, talk about the environment and the earth, and enjoy the taste of beautiful springtime in the midst of a mid-winter February here in NYC.

I hope you will too!

I’ve also compiled a list of  10 EASY AND GREAT THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS ON TU BISHVAT. Check it out HERE.

To learn more about the UNFORGETTABLE holiday of Tu Bishvat, CLICK HERE.

Happy Tu Bishvat! Marlene M.

 

 

 

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Jewish Hostess of the Week! Stacy Ayash’s Party For a Baby Girl

at home, kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher recipes, parties

Jewish Hostess of the Week! Stacy Ayash’s Party For a Baby Girl

No Comments 22 March 2011

Meet Stacy Ayash- A very talented interior decorator who also finds time to whip up the most beautiful parties. Visit her gorgeous brand new interior decorating shop on Avenue U in Brooklyn. Hope you are inspired to spiff up your own gourmet table!  Marlene.

p.s. I’m looking for the next hostess of the week…

please send in your hostess ideas and pictures.


Anyone who entertains knows that its not always so easy but we always want to make it look that way.
After years of having guests over for holidays, and special occasions, I definitely know that my parties come together a lot easier these days. My biggest challenge is always creating something new and exciting for my guests.
The most recent party in my home was a collaborative effort. My mother in law wanted to celebrate the birth of her new grand daughter . I set up the flowers and the table decor,  and my mom cooked  the food.
Now you must know that the last party I did in my home I covered my entire table with grass and had very tall vases with orchids dripping out of the sides. So I knew I had to come up with something that would at least compare to last time.
The only difference was that now I had about 2 days to prepare, so I really needed to really put my thinking cap on. Here’s what I came up with………

I had my local mirror guy use my table pads as a template to cut the mirror and also cut some mirrored squares to serve the mazza (Syrian appetizers) on. All of the other serving pieces are the platinum Annie Glass mixed with Michael Aram platters. To add height and dimension, I used glass cube vases to prop up the serving platters. I poured pink jelly beans into the glass cubes to add the sweet softness to the table- after all the party was in honor of a baby girl.

The only thing missing was a spectacular centerpiece to really make the table pop, and the pink amarillo lillies really did the trick!

Interior Designs by Stacy Ayash

Email Stacy Ayash

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Whole Wheat  Zaatar Bread for Shavuot

kosher bread recipes, kosher pareve recipes

Whole Wheat Zaatar Bread for Shavuot

No Comments 09 May 2010

Zaatar Bread

It was 1980, and I remember visiting my Grandma Molly Sutton in her two-family home on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. Gathering all of her strenth, she proceeded to pull out a familiar piece of pita bread (or Syrian bread as we call it), and slice it legnthwise  into two large rounds.

She then carefully mixed some olive oil  into the home-made zaatar, spooned the mixture onto the pita circles, and slid the two rounds into her toaster oven.

This was a typical mid-day meal of hers.

She began to tell me how, as a 15 year old girl, she arrived in this country with her older sister Selma on a freighter vessel from Syria.

They did not have much food , but the one thing that they were able to find, was the comforting “Zet ou Zaatar” sold in the Arab quarters on the lower East Side. The zaatar spice was dark in color, so passer- bys who could not comprehend this middle eastern spice, called it  “dirty bread”. Nevertheless, it brought them back to memories of home.

Now, 30 years later, memories of my grandmother toasting her zet ou zaatar come to mind as I attempt to gather ingredients for my own whole wheat version of zaatar bread this Shavuot, 2010.

Even if you are lucky enough to live near a middle Eastern supermarket and can buy this delicacy

any weekday morning, there is nothing like the taste or aroma of your own home baked bread .

Perfect with a slice of cheese and tomato, or dipped into greek yogurt or lebne.

Recipe adapted from HERE.

How To Make Pita Bread- The Video

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups whole wheat wheat flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine white flour, wheat flour, and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add warm yeast water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough becomes elastic.

Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated with oil. Allow to sit, covered, in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.

Lightly brush the rounds with some olive oil and sorinkle generously with the zaatar spice.

Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

Storing Pita Bread:

Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer.

Pita bread dough can also be refrigerated for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Buy Kosher Zaatar Here:

Or You Can Make it from scratch:

Two Zaatar spice mix recipes to choose from:

Combine salt,thyme , marjoram, oregano leaves, sumac and sesame seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Sumac is a dark red berry that grows on bushes throughout the Middle East and some parts of Italy. Sumac is sold ground or in dried seed form and can be found at most Middle Eastern markets, or can be ordered from an online specialty company. Store in a dry container until use.

When ready to serve, add the olive oil to the mixture to form a paste. This paste is the zaatar mixture.

1-

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

or:

2-

  • 3 parts toasted sesame seeds
  • - some recipes call for one part  toasted sesame seeds. -it really depends on your tastebuds!
  • 2 parts dried thyme
  • 2 part dried marjoram
  • 2 part oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 part powdered sumac salt, optional
  • coarse salt to taste

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